Orchids & Onions

Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region. 

Orchids & Onions is the only interactive, community-based program geared towards raising awareness and encouraging practical discourse in response to San Diego’s built environment. The success of the program relies heavily upon the citizens of San Diego; public nominations and feedback about the nominations published on the O&O website are integral to planning, growth and future development of our city.

Each year, a jury of design professionals and artists is selected to determine the official Orchids & Onions based upon public submissions in categories including: architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, historic preservation and miscellaneous. The ‘Miscellaneous’ Category encompasses anything and everything that the existing categories do not; and any nomination submitted to the Miscellaneous Category that is determined to be an Orchid or Onion will be recognized in a category specific to that project.

The online People’s Choice Vote gauges San Diegans’ opinions about the state of their region. The culmination is an enlightening and fun-filled awards presentation, promoting awareness and practical discourse about the state of our region.

We urge you to take part in this shared process. Participate!!

Dedicated Volunteer Committee

This passionate bunch come together every year to organize this amazing event.

The Jury

The 2019 Orchids & Onions jury is finalized ! Comprised of members of the local design and academic community, the 11-person jury is ready to judge your nominations.

Miti Aiello: Miti Aiello is an Assistant Professorand academic researcher in the Undergraduate and Graduate Architecture Program at NewSchool of Architecture & Design. She is also the owner of ArchistDesign Studio, with projects ranging from residential remodels, permitting, urban infill projects, pro-bono work, and architectural photography. “Being a Juror for the 2019 Orchids & Onions is a remarkable opportunity to check the architectural pulse of San Diego County. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of this community-driven event.”

Matthew Ellis, AIA, NCARB: With more than 24 years of design experience in San Diego, Matthew has a vast portfolio ranging from single-family residential to commercial and institutional design. As founder of Bluemotif Architecture (2002), Matthew is recognized widely in Southern California for his contributions to the hospitality design industry. He is the recipient of numerous design awards and accolades for local projects such as Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shacks, Farmer & The Seahorse, and Cowboy Star. Matthew merged his practice with international design firm PGAL in 2018 and continues the local leadership as Principal of the firm. “I am honored to be selected as a juror for the 2019 Orchids & Onions Awards. Recognition programs (both great and not-so-great) of the built environment and the people that shape it is a great way to raise public awareness and gives power to the people. I look forward to seeing what our bold and brave patrons and talented pool of design professionals bring to the table this year!”

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio: Tatiana is a Mexican visual artist focusing on oil painting, drawing, and most recently, muralism. Her work focuses on the experience of time, exploring the present, and the transitions of change. She has shown her work in Mexico, the United States, and the Dominican Republic. Tatiana has participated in Artist in Residency Programs such as at the Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic, where she also taught for a semester, and also completed the three month residency at the Bread&Salt Gallery in San Diego. She currently teaches drawing and painting at the University of San Diego and was invited to participate in the Biennial Maria Izquierdo in Guadalajara, Mexico where she received a grant from the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) in order to create a temporary mural installation. “I am very excited to learn about and discover more of San Diego’s design and architectural landscape. Orchids and Onions is a great way of creating an aesthetically conscious community that is actively involved in its development and identity.”

Jessica Pope: Jessica is a second year master’s student at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in the IPAL program as well as a Design Assistant at SGPA Architecture and Planning. Jessica’s decision to become an architect was inspired by the desire to travel and help people around the world through architecture and design. She recently won Outstanding Design Award from NewSchool as well as Honorable Mention in the CASH student design competition.

Brian Rickling, AIA, NCARB: With over 25 years of experience in the architectural profession, Brian’s expertise as a preservation architect covers a wide range of project types including historic restoration, historic reconstruction, and adaptive reuse of historic and non-historic structures, As a Senior Principal Architect for Heritage Architeture and Planning, Brian’s recent portfolio includes the rehabilitation of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Herrmann Hall in Monterey, the rehabilitation of the General’s Quarters and four Officer’s Quarters at Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, the Fresno Santa Fe Depot Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse, the exterior renovation of the Sheffield Reservoir Filtration Building, and guiding the San Diego Air & Space Museum design studies and tenant improvement projects. “Every year I look forward to O&O to see what else has been built in our city that deserves discussion. This is a great event that brings out opinions for the best and worst architectural design in San Diego. I enjoy the discussion of style, design, and architecture in our city. O&O leads the discussion to improving design in San Diego.“

Regina VanderWerff: Regina is a San Diego native and grew up in the building industry with her father as a Defense Contractor for the Navy. Her career includes working on the design side in the model home industry, single family residential, and commercial interiors. Regina is the current Business Development Manager at Suffolk Construction and is extensively involved in a multitude of local industry organizations including The Urban Land Institute, CREW, NAIOP, DSDP, SDHF, DBIA, ISPE, and BioCom.

Contact Us

Contact Us



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

Sign Up

Stay on top of your Architectural news

Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

Get in the Mix